Some years ago I rebuilt my John Deere Buckrake. These photos appeared in my Haying with Horses book and several readers have requested that I publish the dimensions of the wooden pieces. I offer those on the next page. I hope that by looking at these photos and referencing the dimensions anyone interested in trying to build a buck rake will have something of a head start.
I believe a person can build a buck rake from scratch, many old-timers had to, utilizing salvaged parts from other implements; for example, the caster wheels from the back of side delivery rakes. The implement as conceived by John Deere and its predecessors Dain and Emerson, is structured with two connected parts: the mainframe with lifting mechanism and caster wheels – then the front-axled two wheels which carry the hay tooth basket.
Over the last few years of making hay, the mowing, turning and making tripods has settled into a fairly comfortable pattern, but the process of getting it all together for the winter is still developing. In the beginning I did what everyone else around here does and got it baled, but one year I decided to try one small stack. The success of this first stack encouraged me to do more, and now most of my hay is stacked loose.
One of the fun things about horse farming is the simplicity of many of the machines. This opens the door for tinkerers like me to express themselves. Sometimes it is just plain nice to take a proven design and build one of your own. Last spring I did just that. I built my own buckrake. I’m proud of the fact that it worked as it should and that my rudimentary carpentry skills produced it.
Old Threshers Reunion is a 5 day Labor Day weekend event that hosts a series of horse demonstrations. Among the demonstrations were a Case thresher run off of a 6-sweep horsepower, a smaller thresher run by a 1-horse treadmill, a buck rake and Jayhawk swivel stacker, a grain auger and horse powered sawmill, and more. We were definitely interested in checking these out, so we rode along with Jordan who nabbed Ammon Weeks to ride along as well.
The true ‘Jackson Fork’ is arguably the single most iconic product invented by Byron Jackson, of early 1900’s San Francisco – but it was by no means the only important innovation/product Jackson engineered. As these old cuts testify, he designed many devices and systems for forage handling. Some, like the Threshing Outfits, were geared for handling large volumes of grain crop.